Transamerica Trail 2009 - OCD or not to be.

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Questor, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. MotoAdventureGal

    MotoAdventureGal Motorcycle Vagabond

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    Well, for the first time in a long time I'm looking forward to a snowstorm...they're predicting 6-8" of snow here and Q and I are settled in by the fire (ok sounds great but really I'm at the computer and he's out in my garage trying to figure out a wacky issue with my rear brake light).

    The evening plan (after Dakar highlights, of course!) is to hunker down with the maps and start his cache of waypoints. Questor LOVES his waypoints!!! Me, I'd be out there the first day we're taking off trying to get my roll chart thingy mounted so I can make sense of things, but Questor will have the whole trip planned down to the coffee shops, so I guess I picked a good travel partner.

    Yes, I run a GPS, a Garmin 60 Cx. I'm still learning it's finer qualities, but I've found it to be rugged enough for all the abuse I put it through (which will be even more on the "small" bike.)

    We've been obsessing over schedule--I have a lot of commitments that keep me going here & there off the trail and as yet nothing can be completely pinned down and it's making Q nuts. Me, too, but I've learned to live with myself and my over-full schedule. He's still getting used to it...:(:
    #81
  2. MotoAdventureGal

    MotoAdventureGal Motorcycle Vagabond

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    Hi shalbleib, my path has been a slow and painful one...and because I didn't just jump in with both feet and "shed sh!t fast" after quitting my corporate job, I've used up a lot of my savings just staying alive while I've been shedding stuff. "Stuff" really does weigh us down. It's amazing, when you really take a hard look at your life, all the little things you do for "comfort" and "security", that cost you LOTS of money. And I've come to realize that for me, money=freedom. And the less money I require to support overhead, the less I have to work (hence more time for travel).

    It takes a certain amount of guts to give up the old and familiar, the "known". Some people are forced into it, some hit rock bottom in a relationship or career or existential crisis, others have a health issue that makes them wake up and see how important it is to live your life NOW and place aside your fears. (I can really expound on this subject if you get me going...)

    Back to TAT...Questor and I are low budget travelers. Sure, we'll outfit the bikes right nice, but we're gonna camp, cook food ourselves, and we don't need much entertainment. Plus, traveling with someone saves $$--half a campsite, half a sandwich, etc., even shared toiletries. (You just have to find the right "someone". )

    If the only thing you have is your dogs, and your brother will foster them, shoot, you can ride the TAT in 6 weeks. Put your whole life in mothballs --give your bro the pups-- and take off! Life's short! And 6 weeks isn't really that much time.

    The bottom line is you can tell yourself all sorts of stories, get caught up in other people's stories, try to make your life like someone else's story...you can also spend a lot of time on ADVrider reading other people's stories rather than going out and creating your own. Just go do what you want to do. All the big winners at the game of life take risks. Go for it!

    Good luck! ~Alisa

    PS-here's an article I wrote on this topic that was published just last month in RoadBike magazine...

    The Truth About Travelers
    #82
  3. MotoAdventureGal

    MotoAdventureGal Motorcycle Vagabond

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    Lots of times I read other people's "stories" and say, 'yeah, if I had it that way it'd be easy'...

    But the truth is we *all* have places where we're hung up, and places where we're stuck. And if you think it's fantastic that I/we can do all this travel, have this great motorcycle adventure lifestyle, please know that I have a farm, a Bed & Breakfast business, cats-dogs-horses, a relationship to juggle, and LOTS of overhead and I'm still making all this happen. So it's not easy for me. I'm just committed.

    And that's what I'd like to impart to anyone who wants to travel on the motorbike for extended periods of time-- just make a commitment to yourself and follow through! Everything will fall into place. It's not *easy* but it doesn't have to be *hard*, either. Just go for it.

    See you on the road!
    #83
  4. Seth S

    Seth S Deleted

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    Agreed. I was lucky enough to get a 6 week period between jobs to do the TAT back in 2005. I'd like to do it again....but next year will be 5 years in my present company and = 3 weeks of vacation. So I have been rationalizing that the income and health care are good and with the vacation time I can just barely stand to travel a little now and continue to work. But stepping away completely is a major process. I am very aware of the American system that teaches you that happyness is only achievable through Consumerism. The reality is the less stuff you have the more money you can save and the fewer things you have to worry about => less stress and more time to do what you like. So basically opposite of what society pushed you towards.
    #84
  5. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

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    :nod

    I would easily trade my HD wide screen Plasma TV set (if I had one) for a chance to see a sunset with someone I love.
    I have few physical possessions in this life besides my two bikes, a bit of camping gear, and the love of my friends and family; and that's all I need.
    Everything else is 'baggage'.

    I've been all over this world and I'm convinced - less IS more.

    Q~
    #85
  6. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

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    Hello All.

    It's been a while since I've posted here. It's not that I'm not thinking about the trip a lot, it's just that I have not come up with anything conclusive to worry about... :lol3

    But I did recently come up with this Problem / Solution optimization.

    Problem: The Slimy Stream crossings in the SE. A thin layer of alge on top of smooth concrete creates a navigation hazard and resulting possible injury.

    Solution: Run slightly studded tires. Screw in a couple hundred 3/8" studs front and rear and - TA DA!
    No more slippery stream crossings. :thumb

    OK... What do you think? :wink:
    Think there might be a problem running lightly studded tires in Tennessee in June?

    (Yes, It's been a long winter...)
    Q~
    #86
  7. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    It won't help. Trust me on this.

    Just go slow, fall down, get wet, pick up yer bikes, get back on, and carry on with the trail.

    Take your licks like the rest of us did. Why the desire to deny yourselves this classic ADV rite of passage?

    :lol3

    Seriously, don't worry about the safety issue... it's not like they come up all of a sudden around a blind corner. You'll see the water crossing, you'll want to stop and stretch, take some photos, have a pee and a snack, and plot your crossing. You'll then underestimate how slick it is, try to ride across, and fail. DAMHIK

    BTW, I've almost finished GPS plotting, and have been "virtually pre-running" sections on Google Earth. Using the "touring" feature is awesome on the non-auto-routing sections using point-to-point navigated routes which is most of western UT, and all of NV. Use 70deg camera tilt, 150meter range, and 450speed... it's like a video game. :thumb
    #87
  8. spqr

    spqr Been here awhile

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    Are the 'Hard Boxes' Army Mermite cans? Like they use for hot food in the field?
    #88
  9. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

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    Oh, Dr. Rock... tell me more... about the technology... with your tantalizing accent... I want to know more about your master plan... :deal
    Again - How fast? How much range? The scientific talk makes me woozy.

    So uh, do you watch this on the big screen? :wink:
    Q~
    #89
  10. Seth S

    Seth S Deleted

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    yes those were. I bought them off ebay....about $80 for the pair with shipping. I then gutted both boxes leaving the top seal and seal surface. made some brackets and mounted them to the bike. They were very good, cheap, light, and durable. I was in a crash later in that trip (no damage to me or the bike), and the mermite cans took a beating and absorbed all the impact....they are rather unusable now. I stick with soft luggage these days.
    #90
  11. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

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    Hello All. :wave

    It's been a long while since I posted here.
    It was a long winter, an it's been a busy Spring.
    MotoAdventureGal and myself just got back from a three week motorcycle trip to Florida and back on the "Big bikes". Beastie, my R1200 GS Adventure and I had a great time in the twisty secondary roads around the Smoky Mounatins in TN.

    While the big bikes are nice, I want to get into the nooks and crannies of this country. I want to be able to explore the muddy woods of New England, and the sandy valleys of Canyonlands NP in Utah.
    For that I need a smaller bike than "Beastie"

    It's been in the works all winter....
    The result of hours of researching, planning measuring, and obsessing...

    The DRZ has been transformed in to a 1/3 size BMW GSA!
    Codename: BIZUKI 400 GS.
    (I've already had people ask me what kind of bike it is including a BMW mechanic. :lol3 I even got the "Wow, I didn't know BMW made dirt bikes.)

    - I've added a larger IMS 4.5 gallon fuel tank.
    - I've built a new fairing to hold the Garmin 276C right where it should be, above the spedometer in line of sight.
    - To protect me and the GPS from the elements, I used a tall Dakar fairing from an BMW F650.
    - To carry my light load on the TAT, I'm going to use the Ortleib Low Profile soft bags on the panniers. They are long enough so that I can carry the tent pole inside the dry bags. I will probably also carry a small dry bag on the top rear fender rack.

    I proudly present to you, some pics of "Bizuki 400 GS" :clap
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    You can see the "Bizuki" is just a scalled down version of it's big brother "Beastie". :wink:

    [​IMG]

    Note the matching ADV stickers. :thumb
    [​IMG]

    It's all comming together nicely.
    Q~
    #91
  12. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    you've gotta cross-post that to the drz thread. :deal

    What do you have (if anything) as a stand-off to keep the ortliebs from bouncing into the rear wheel travel?

    Wanna do the TNJT with me next weekend? -- you can field-test the Scala Q2. :brow

    Didja see this in the NYT?

    Welcome back. :beer
    #92
  13. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

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    Hi Dr. Rock.
    There is a strap from the top center of the bag on each side that keep the sides from "drooping". Also, about 70% of the bag rests on the plastic side panels, and they are supported underneath. These bags ride really high and tight, and ride snugly without flapping.

    I'll be keeping an eye out for Mobius III... :deal

    Q~
    #93
  14. KI6HNB

    KI6HNB Been here awhile

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    :lurk
    #94
  15. MotoAdventureGal

    MotoAdventureGal Motorcycle Vagabond

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    Poor Questor. Now *I've* caught the bug.

    Two weeks to roll-out.

    While I was away Questor made a cardboard template for a heat shield for my exhaust pipe, took my DR across the street, and the boyz made one up. It's s-w-e-e-t!!!

    I also got to try an "air hawk" seat pad (we choose to ride the 800+ miles to the start of the TAT and I don't want to have an achin' att...) but could not find one at Americade. My friend "hartselrider" showed up today and he has one on his KLR, so I am going to try it out tomorrow with the sweet cheeks Dr. Rock recommends.

    I got a cool hookup with YUASA and they're going to send me a new battery to use...my DR let "Magda" down a couple weeks ago when she came over to borrow it for the 2 state dualsport ride...

    Luggage. 2 weeks to go and still undecided. I want soft luggage because last week my leg got caught up in Questor's luggage and I remember thinking "man, this woulda H-U-R-T if that was hard luggage...but my dilemma is that I want hard boxes for the DR for South America (I leave Nov 1) and I don't want to buy 2 sets o' luggage. I'm cheap.

    So Q is telling me to just pack in a dry bag. I have a couple and I've started throwing all my TAT stuff in a box and should do a trial packing. Of course Q wants to do a trial run camping off the motorbikes with allt he TAT gear, and I just don't have time. I just rented my house and, well, basically have 3 days to move out and organize all my crap.

    My brake light still doesn't work consistently, so Q should get to work on that.

    Oh yeah, we also bought the Cardo communicators. Twisted Throttle was blowing them out at Americade, and we got a NEW pair for $275. Sweet. They were on our "to buy" list anyway.

    Hm. What else? I need to add a powerlet and oh yeah, I have to buy a new cord for my Garmin. I'm going to take the GPS mount off my GSA and mount it to the DR. I also have to figure out tires...we're thinking of using MEFO tires from Twisted Throttle.
    #95
  16. KI6HNB

    KI6HNB Been here awhile

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    +1 on the Sweet Cheeks. I've been using one since I bought the DRZ. I couldn't imagine riding more than 50miles a day, day after day, without them. <did that make sense?

    I'm using the Dirt Bagz Ranger bags. I like them so far but it would be nice to have a waterproof bag system. Which begs the question, LDF or Dr. Rock, did you have any problems with stuff in the dirt bags getting wet during Mobius III with all those river crossings?

    If you want to see a pic of my set up go here>http://www.flickr.com/photos/ki6hnb/3568356717/in/set-72157618845602948/
    #96
  17. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    The problem we're having with the dirtbags isn't getting wet, but the dirtbags zippers suffer mightily in the dust and mud. They require constant attention or they freeze up. So LDF will be upgrading to the AndyStrapz expedition pannierz that I have. That said, the AndyStrapz are pretty waterproof, but not completely, but more so than the Dirtbags. Everything inside the panniers is packed in drybags. 2 reasons... first, if it rains, or if you go down in water, your gear won't get wet, but more importantly, if you have to pack something away when it's wet, it won't soak everything else in your bags.
    #97
  18. arroyoshark

    arroyoshark Needing some space

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    Nicely set up DRZ !

    My $.02 is that since you have dropped some bux to make the bike TAT worthy, you should also change out the stock steel handlebars (I didn't read through whole thread, so perhaps you already did this) for some aluminum alloy bars...and maybe some bar risers so you can ride more comfortably standing. I installed some Renthal KTM bend bars which are flatter, along with the bar adapters, which also serve as risers. Makes bike much more comfortable to ride...for me anyway.

    I'm headed out on the western TAT in early July.....again.
    #98
  19. MotoAdventureGal

    MotoAdventureGal Motorcycle Vagabond

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    Mmmm...bar risers are on the list.

    good idea on the allow bars...I think I'll beat up the stick ones then buy new ones for Central/South America!

    I really like Q's Ortlieb bags...I'm thinking I'll ride to Denver with the dry bag (~10 days) and then if I hate it I'll order something. I have to get off the trail in Denver for a week of work, so the timing will be okay.

    Oh yeah, waterproof is a MUST! The first time I have to sleep in a wet sleeping bag I'll cry like a baby and demand a hotel for the camping princess.
    #99
  20. TipsyMcStagger

    TipsyMcStagger Long timer

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    Not sure how many times you've dumped the bike already (I only know of the submarine incident in NJ) but the stock steel bars are a lot weaker than a good set of alloy Renthals or Pro-Tapers.

    Might want to move that farkle up the list a bit.

    Tipsy